The Importance--or Not!-- of Endorsements

I’m confused.  Over the past several months, I get between 2-10 emails a week from LinkedIn telling me that this or that contact of mine has endorsed me. Lovely BUT, in most cases, I don’t actually KNOW the person.  I accept requests for connection for a variety of reasons—laziness being the main one.  I know that people say that LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, but so far, I find that is true only when the person I am trying to network with is already a known contact.

For a while, I was religious in replying to requests to connect with a thank you and a request that we get together, either in person (if that person was geographically desirable) or via phone, to learn how our new connection could be beneficial. Mainly, these people who had contacted me and asked for the connection, responded in a way that felt like they were saying, “Who are you?  And why are you bothering me?”

I also tried to use my LinkedIn connections geographically.  When I travelled, or had queries from nonprofits outside of LA, I would reach out to my connections who were in the area.  Typically, I got no response.  Maybe it is me.

So, back to these endorsements.  Why are these people who don’t otherwise want to know me, recommending me for skills that they could not possibly know I possess?  I surmise that it is so I will endorse them back.  Which seems to me nonsensical.  I would no more believe a Linked In endorsement than I believe in the tooth fairy.  But again, perhaps that is just me.

Then again, I am a person who regularly forgets to ask for or post unrequested testimonials on my website.  Those that are there date from the time the site was created.  I also regularly forget to post evaluations on my online grants class that say that my co-teacher and I not only walk on water but teach a pretty terrific grant writing class.  And these are people who actually know what I do and whether I have the skills to do it well.

At this point in my consulting career, most of my business is either repeat or comes as a result of a referral from a former or current client.  Another large percentage comes from people who have taken one or more of my classes.  None, as far as I can tell, come from LinkedIn Facebook or any other social media.

When I do get work from an RFP (Request For Proposals), the client has spent a fair amount of time calling my referrals.  More often than not, they also know me from taking a class, having a friend or colleague who is a client.  None have looked at my endorsements on Linked In.

So, it is me?  Tell me your experiences.  I like the idea of social media—I would just like to feel that there is more substance to it for work purposes.


Janet Levine consults with nonprofit organizations, helping them to increase their fundraising capacity.  She also does one-on-one coaching with developing development directors and others charged with fundraising.  Learn more at  While there, sign up for her free newsletter.